Many people are under the impression that sex starts amazingly wonderful in a new relationship, only to then decline with time.

It is not necessarily the case.

Actually, plenty of couples get to enjoy a tremendously satisfying sex life for years and years on end.

What makes some couples enjoy their sex lives long-term?

An online study that circulated in 24 countries and encompassed some 100,000 participants, found quite a few parallels between long-term couples that reported to have a great love life.

You can read about it in the book The Normal Bar by Chrisanna Northrup, Pepper Schwartz, and James Witte.

Not surprisingly at all, the data that emerges suggests that couples who make their love life a priority are those who enjoy it best.

But how does prioritizing your love like actually look like?

What do these couples do that make such a difference?

I’m glad you asked. It can be summarized in the following list:

13 habits of long-term couples with a great sex life.

  1. They say “I love you” often— and mean it.
  2. They kiss one another passionately for no reason at all.
  3. They make romantic gestures, such as gifts and/or compliments on a regular basis.
  4. They know what turns their partner on and off erotically.
  5. They are physically affectionate, even in public.
  6. They keep playing and having fun together.
  7. They cuddle often.
  8. They make sex a priority.
  9. They stay good friends.
  10. They can communicate comfortably about their sex life.
  11. They have regular romantic dates.
  12. They take romantic vacations.
  13. They attune themselves to their partners’ requests.

If you look at the list closely, you might notice something interesting. Most of these things tend to happen naturally at the start of the relationship.

During the so-called honeymoon phase of the relationship, we are full of excitement. We say “I love you” and we definitely mean it. We kiss passionately. We make plenty of romantic gestures. We constantly show physical affection — we can’t keep our hands off each other. Yes, even in public. We truly enjoy each other’s company. We have plenty of alone time that is purely dedicated to exploring the other person — mentally, emotionally, and physically.

So perhaps this whole study shows us that those who maintain their “start of relationship” behaviors end up having a satisfying love life, long term.

What can you do to improve the sex life of your long-term relationship?

It’s not like you can suddenly start implementing all these 13 habits and expect to miraculously change your sex life from “so-so” to A+++.

However, you can definitely adopt a few of these habits. The ones that are easier, to start with.

For me personally, when my long-term relationship was in a really bad phase, I was happy with gifting my partner loving gestures, like purchasing a ticket to see his favorite football team. (It is much more effective if you happen to know your partner’s love language and you give a gift that aligns with it).

The important thing is to start where it’s both easy for you and will be appreciated by your partner.

Let’s face it, if you start with habit #1 (saying “I love you”) when you actually feel the opposite, it won’t really make a positive impact.

Here’s how you work with this list:

Read the list again.

Take a mental note of a few habits that you feel comfortable to develop, and start practicing those.

Once these become true habits that happen pretty much without effort, then there’s a good chance you will start feeling comfortable adding another one or two from that list.

You don’t need to practice every single item on this list, but it is a more-the-merrier kind of scenario. Start gradually and see where it leads you.

Will you end up practicing 7 of these habits? 8? 9? Whatever works for you. As long as you notice your love life improves, who really cares, right?

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